Beckham’s birth 

Thursday morning at 1 am I awoke to rollover…and then had my first contraction of real labor (I had been having some “practice contractions” or crampy Braxton Hicks contractions off and on since Monday night). I got up to use the bathroom and then climed back into bed assuming it was not labor. When another came, and then a third that made me have to get up and change positions I thought, this isn’t IT…is it? I figured if I changed my activity and it wasn’t labor the contractions would fade and I’d go back to sleep. Well, not long after, I was moaning and leaning on the bed during each contraction they were all pretty strong and possibly getting closer together. My moans woke chase up and he almost immediately asked “are they getting stronger longer and closer together?” I said “I don’t know for sure” and he hopped out of bed and started getting dressed. He called my mom and she came right over. Chase texted Kathy, our midwife, to let her know we’d be on our way soon. Once mom got here and Chase had my bag in the car, he came back in and I told him I just wanted to make sure I was in labor for sure. He asked “did you have another contraction while I was at the car, and another when I came in?” I answered yes. “You’re in labor, let’s go”, he told me. So with that, we headed to Tennessee. That was about 2:00am by then I believe. I was glad once we got off of our windy road and onto the interstate. The car ride didn’t slow labor down at all. Once we got to Kathy’s she checked my blood pressure, listened to Beckham, and was watching to see how I was doing and coping with the contractions. She recorded info that she needed to, and then after about 5 contractions I got into the tub that she had waiting for me. Ahhhhh! That felt so good! I’m guessing I got into the tub around 3:30 or so. My contractions were getting stronger and about an hour later, -maybe a little less- I felt that familiar pressure in my bottom and thought “wow! He’s coming already!” And sure enough at 4:40am he was born. Let’s just say it’s a good thing Chase was sensible enough to make the decision to leave when we did! I won’t question him next time ;). As soon as Beckham was delivered kathy handed him to me and a couple of seconds later he let out a huge scream. A wonderful sound! Perfect little squishy ball of newborn baby…all ours! After the placenta was delivered and his cord was ready to be cut, I got to cut his cord and then he went to Chase while I bathed off. Kathy helped me out of the tub and I got on my robe, climbed into the bed and got cozy with my baby for a while. Kathy made us some breakfast while I nursed him. He latched on right away and had a great suck reflex! Kathy had a concern about his oxygen levels so she checked it and it wasn’t hitting quite the level she wanted it to. She decided to use his other foot and he passed the test quickly. Overachieved it even. (The foot she had originally tested it on was hanging down and in the same position for a while which caused the low score). Chase held Beckham while I used the bathroom and then Kathy gave us the thumbs up to go home whenever we were ready, but no rush. We got home around 9 that morning and then got to introduce him to our Ruthie. She LOVES him!! 🙂 

God is so good and we are so thankful that he blessed us with another safe homebirth delivery and healthy baby boy. 

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Our family’s Homebirth Journey (Midwife assisted)

It started after Chase and I had been married for about a year and half or so. I always knew that I wanted to have my babies as naturally as possible with as few interventions as possible. I just assumed that meant I would have to find the right doctor who was “naturally minded”.

After learning of three different families whom Chase and I knew well who had chosen midwife assisted homebirth for having their (20-something combined) children, I was very curious to learn more and see if this could be something for us as well.

I first began my research by watching documentaries, reading articles on the internet, and reading a book titled Ina Mae’s Guide to Childbirth by the Nation’s leading midwife, Ina Mae Gaskin. Once I had more information I took my thoughts to Chase, who, at first wasn’t so sure of the idea. However, being the man he is, he agreed to meet with two of the families I mentioned earlier and hear what they had to say about why they chose this method of childbirth and about their experiences.

After giving it further thought and consideration and hearing the two family’s reasons for choosing midwife assisted homebirth and about their positive experiences, we made the decision ourselves to plan a midwife assisted homebirth when the Lord chose to bless us with a child.

Once we had made our decision I felt very at peace. I am one of those people who feel very uncomfortable in a hospital setting. Since stress can potentially be the cause of a problem during labor and delivery, I believe it’s safer to birth in an environment that is most comfortable for the low-risk laboring mother. And for me personally, that comfortable environment is my own home, or my midwife’s home, in her birth suite…in the big bathtub!

Midwives are often misjudged by those who simply don’t understand what a midwife is, how capable they are, how much training they have received, and what items they bring to a birth. A Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) is a woman who is highly trained in natural childbirth, as well as emergency situations. She knows how to recognize an issue before it becomes an emergency and can therefore either help to avoid the emergency altogether, or quickly resort to the emergency birth plan if that avenue is required. They attend births with all the necessary equipment- from a fetal heart monitor to oxygen and baby resuscitation equipment (there is a whole list of things but for my hand’s sake, I’ve only mentioned a couple).

In addition to being mightily prepared at a birth, midwives give very thorough prenatal and postpartum care. Records are kept, symptoms kept in check, blood work/labs/tests are taken, baby is listened to, there is the choice to have an ultrasound if the parents want or the midwife suggests it, etc. After the birth of a baby an APGAR score (actually 3 in a 10 minute time frame) and a newborn exam is given, followed by more check-ups and exams done 48 hours and 6 weeks postpartum for both mother and baby.

Midwives encourage laboring women to be in-tune to what their bodies are telling them, to not be afraid of the pain of childbirth but to have a good mindset and know that the intense feeling is not harming them, but helping to bring their sweet baby into the world. God is the creator of the female body and birthing process. His design is perfect. With no unnecessary interventions (synthetic hormones to induce or hurry along labor, epidural, continuous fetal monitoring, limited mobility for mother, not allowing eating and drinking -nourishment that provides energy- during labor, etc.) labor and delivery is much more likely to occur without a problem at all. Midwives recognize this and trust God and his perfect design.

Of course, I understand that a midwife assisted homebirth is not for everyone. But for the low-risk pregnant mother, it should be an option. I hope that more people will be knowledgeable of what a Certified Professional Midwife is. Because even if you would never choose that avenue of childbirth yourself, someone you know may, and it’s not an unsafe, insane idea after all. I would say the same the other way around as well; women who choose homebirth should not think women who choose hospital birth are crazy either. Birth is birth. Whether by natural vaginal delivery at home, in the hospital, painless (by medication/epidural) labor and delivery in a hospital, or a planned C-section, birth is birth. Everyone has their preferences, and no one should be the judge of another on how they bring their babies into the world.

Chase and I are very thankful for the homebirth we were blessed to experience two years ago with our sweet daughter, and look forward to the next one we will have-Lord willing- any day now with our son.

Real life & being ‘just mommy’

Monday’s are my big chore days. I typically clean up from the weekend, do multiple loads of laundry, make bread (if I forgot to the night before), clean the floor, wash diapers, work on a grocery list, meal plan for the week, etc,. Well, yesterday Ruth was very fussy (teething I believe) and I just didn’t get to everything. Her need for me and my to do list was starting to really stress me out. I wasn’t being as successful as I wanted to be. I was running on empty, the fussiness of my baby emotionally draining. My the time evening rolled around, all I wanted was silence and a peaceful visit with my husband. Chase had to prepare for a men’s study after dinner and went to bed right afterwards since he’d be getting up early…so there went that. I went to bed feeling drained and defeated.

When Chase’s alarm went off this morning at 5:15, the last thing I wanted to do was get out of bed. Ruth wouldn’t be awake for another hour and a half at least. More sleep sounded wonderful. But breakfast needed to be made and lunch packed. So out of bed I stumbled and into our messy kitchen only to find the counters covered in ants.

My day was already taking me over just like yesterday had. After Chase left, I climbed back into bed and hoped Ruth would stay asleep a while longer so I could have a moment to have some quiet time. Thankfully, she did. Once she did wake up, after I nursed her, and ate my breakfast, she was becoming fussy once again. I laid her down for an early nap, and continued on with my morning. I began planning what needed to be done and making a list. But then, it hit me. I needed to forget the to-do list, forget the plan, and just do what I can.

So, here I am still in my pajamas, eating cookies (healthy garbonzo bean cookies) for lunch while Ruth sleeps. I’m not leaving my house, I’m not stressing myself out over a to do list, I’m just doing what I can. I’m giving myself a break. Until Ruth wakes up, I will tidy our home and fold some laundry. But after that she’ll probably need me to just be her mommy instead of being super-mommy. So today, I’m just mommy (which is already a super thing).

How {sweet} it is to be a Stay-at-home-Mom

 

This morning as I nursed my sweet 6 month old, I was overwhelmed with the feeling of thankfulness to the Lord for giving me the roll as a mother to stay home and raise our precious baby girl. I have a such a great responsibility that it’s frightening and overwhelming at times, but ALWAYS worth every drop of sweat and tears…and of course there’s spit up and baby poop as well.

Being a stay at home mom is difficult at times and requires sacrifice to say the least. Sometimes I’m torn between her need to nap and my desire for getting out the house-her naps trump that one, but, thankfully there is such a thing as compromise. Sometimes I really want a new-to-us car, but ours runs just fine for now. Sometimes (all the time) I would like for everything on my grocery list to be bought locally, organic, raw, grass-fed, pastured, etc., but that’s not in our current budget. But guess what? Doing without is completely worth being able to stay home with my girl. They are but a drop in the bucket compared to all the joy a child brings a mother’s heart. The smiles, giggles, milestones, cuddles, silliness, bonding…everything about it is so much more rewarding than sacrificial. 

The moral of the story here is: I highly recommend being a stay-at-home-mom..how {sweet} it is. I wouldn’t give it up for anything!

Graceful Sleep Training

Having a well rested baby is very important to me and Chase. Babies need sleep. Babies want sleep. While I was pregnant with Ruth I did a lot of research as most mom-to-be-‘s do. Healthy sleep is what I mostly researched. The reason I wanted a well rested child and for her to sleep well and easily wasn’t so I could be “off duty” 2-3 times a day and 12 hours at night. (I mean, I’m her mom–I’m on duty 24/7. It’s my job. And I love it!) The reason I wanted {and want} a well rested child is because it’s what’s best for her.

When I lack the sleep that I need, it don’t function very well. I don’t feel well, I’m not emotionally stable, I’m not as alert as I should be, and I’m not cheerful. Are you? Probably not. The reason I want a well rested child is because I want her to feel her best. I want her to be cheerful and healthy. Without proper sleep, I don’t believe any of us can be truly cheerful, healthy, and feeling our best.

During my research, I primarily read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Mark Weissbluth. I was grateful for the information on the why for the need of sleep and not only the how.This book has greatly helped us provided Ruth with the sleep that she -and every baby- needs. Allowing Ruth to sleep when she needs to (and wants to) takes sacrifices on our part as parents. Though we do save room for “non-routine” days we primarily stay home in the evenings so that she can have an appropriate bed time. This is not always easy. There have been things that I have missed out on that I would have loved to be able to do. But having a well rested baby is very much worth the sacrifices. Training her to associate the feeling of being tired, her regular sleep environment (dark room, crib, etc.) and our soothing routine with falling asleep definitely took some time and required a lot of work. But now, when it is time for sleeping and she is laid down in her crib after our soothing routine, she goes to sleep. Sleep begets sleep, so as long as she is well rested and not over tired she stays asleep. (She does still wake once in the middle of the night to nurse. I nurse her, lay her right back down after a hug and a kiss, and she falls right back to sleep.)

But guess what? Every day is not like this. Every day is not what I want it to look like and what I think it should look like. We have days where she wakes up “early” from a nap. Actually we have a lot of days like this. It used to make me so frustrated. She wouldn’t cry but would just be talking to herself and “playing”. But I wanted her to be sleeping. I would try to do all I could to fix this problem. Maybe I laid her down too early, maybe I let her get over tired and now she can’t get all the sleep she should, maybe I laid her down at the wrong biological sleep/wake time,etc. It was honestly consuming my mind and it was effecting my attitude. If she didn’t have a “good” nap day, it drained the joy out of me. I was putting her sleep, or lack of, above everything. It was the whole goal of my day. Everyday. So finally Chase mentioned something to me about it. I was very thankful he did because after giving it a lot of thought, he was right. I had become a Sleep Nazi (not his words by the way-self titled). Here’s the deal. Babies aren’t robots. Although they thrive on routine, they’re not made for rigid schedules (which is what that book was telling me all along, if I only I listened). Not to mention, every baby is different.

I can’t make Ruth sleep. I can only provide the opportunity in the right environment. And in the end, what happens is what happens. And no matter what happens, it’s a good day. I will continue to be sensitive to Ruth’s need to sleep and if there is ever a problem in her sleeping habits I’m going to do some troubleshooting (which that books is great for!), but I will not be a Sleep Nazi anymore and her lack of sleep will not control my attitude. No ma’am. So here’s to graceful sleep training. It’s so freeing!

Motherhood {The first months}

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The way I feel about being a mom is indescribable. Honestly, words can’t do it justice, which is why it has taken me an hour and a half just to get the first two sentences written.

When our daughter was born I was in shock. I had just delivered a baby…and she’s OURS. All 5 pounds of her. Her dark hair, heart-shaped lips, and prominent eyebrows were just too much. It was truly love at first sight. Although all aspects of being a mom aren’t always what you want them to me be, it’s worth it. Of course you don’t want to be kept up most of the night, but when your baby is comforted by your nearness and the nourishment you provide, it gives you a sense of encouragement knowing that you are what your baby wants and needs. No mom wants her nipples to be so sore that she cringes while nursing in the first week or so, but knowing that you are giving your baby the ultimate “comfort food” and perfect nutrition makes it completely worth every sense of pain felt. Besides, it won’t be like that for long. You will nurse without any pain, you will sleep through the night…one day. One day soon.

Now that I’ve blinked -I was told not to do that- she’s not a newborn anymore. There really is nothing like a new baby. Their smell, the cuddles, their tininess, their yawns, the way they fall asleep while nursing, I could go on and on. But now, I sleep at night, my nipples have long healed, she goes to sleep when she’s laid down, and my husband and I spend a lot of time together. There are both great things and challenges in every stage of a baby’s life (that I’ve experienced so far). Some of the things we are currently enjoying are her big smiles, squeals, coos, laughs, the way she sucks her thumb, her excitement at being naked, the faces she makes, her cheeks…

These last four months of being a mom have been wonderful to say the least. Full of excitement, joys, challenges, and hard work. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love my sweet girl. I have THE BEST job in the world. A friend once told me that Motherhood looks good on me. Well, it feels good too.

The birth of our daughter

DSC_2048Just a few minutes before I planned on leaving our house, my water broke at 10:45 am. Since it was still four days before my due date with my first baby, and I had convinced myself that I would go at least a week past my due date, I was pretty shocked.

My husband, Chase, came home from working on our new house – the one we had planned on moving into that Monday- to be with me.

Labor began within an hour of my water breaking, but not too strong or regular at first. I tried to nap, snack, drink water, and relax. Chase fixed us some lunch and we played cards for a while. I had been trying to ignore my contractions but that wasn’t possible for long. They were getting stronger and closer together so we decided to gather a few last minute items and head to our midwife’s house in Tennessee. The funny thing is, I think Chase was more anxious to leave than I was.

Once we got there, Kathy, my midwife, asked me a few questions, checked my blood pressure, and listened to Ruth (who was already pretty low). She offered to check me for dilation, but I declined.

My mom met us there and brought me a banana and Chase a burrito from Moe’s. I ate the banana and drank water in between contractions and shortly after finishing, vomited and cried. (Transition? I think so.)

DSC_2054Kathy asked if I’d like to get into the bathtub – I did! I labored in the tub with Chase by my side encouraging and comforting me. My mom took his place a time or two so he could stretch his legs a bit.

Jennifer, Kathy’s daughter who taught our birth classes, got home and came in to say hi. She told me I was doing great and encouraged me to moan low instead of high when my contractions were peaking. I feel like it really helped Ruth move down because shortly after that I felt the urge to push with my contractions. I told Kathy and she said to do whatever my body was encouraging me to do.

These pushes weren’t necessarily hard pushing like I did at the end, but just relieving. They really took some of the pressure off for me. I did this for about two hours…I think. (I wasn’t paying any attention to the clock.)

Once my urge to push got really serious, though, I immediately moved into a squat – the only comfortable position to be in at the time. I pushed for about 10 minutes until Ruth’s head was out. Kathy unwrapped the cord around her neck and told me to push with the next contraction. One last push and here she was! I brought her to my chest and held her. “She’s so little!”, is the first thing I said. And she was – so tiny and beautiful with a head full of dark hair.

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Ruth was born at 7:18 pm on Friday, October 3rd.

She weighed 5 lbs and was 18 inches long.

After I was cleaned up and ate some peanut butter and honey toast and Ruth’s newborn exam was completed, we headed home to introduced our new baby girl to our families.

Our water birth was such a wonderful experience! We were encouraged to do whatever was comfortable for us and left to labor in a calming environment. We felt very safe and in good hands. My ability to deliver Ruth naturally was never questioned or doubted by anyone present. I was continually told encouraging things and not rushed to do anything on a time frame. The vibe was ‘waiting on a baby’ and not ‘gotta get this baby out’. Every mother, pregnancy, labor, delivery, and baby is unique and beautiful in their own way.

We thank the Lord for allowing us such a wonderful experience.